A-Rod Goes From MVP To VC

Former MLB star Alex Rodriguez has worn many hats. Mariner. Ranger. Yankee. Pepsi Spokesperson. SPAC CEO. Chairman of Presidente Beer.

And he just fitted himself with a new one: Venture Capitalist. The one time slugger, joined by entrepreneur Marc Lore, has founded a new VC firm called Vision/Capital/People (VCP). While a celebrity with an ungodly amount of money isn’t exactly news, this new firm’s approach to financing certainly is.

Swinging for the Fences

It feels like A-Rod and Lorre have tried their hand at just about every business trend going this year. In February, they hopped into the blank check craze, launching a SPAC with a $500 million IPO. On Thursday, they finalized an agreement to buy the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves for a cool $1.5 billion.

And now, the duo’s latest endeavor is shaping up to be their most disruptive move yet:

  • VCP plans to buy 40% to 80% stakes in various startups – much larger cuts than a typical venture capital firm. While potentially exposing them to bigger risks, Lorre claims the approach will help prevent their startup partners from being stymied by a lack of capital.
  • The firm will kick off with $50 million from the pair’s personal stash, with the potential to raise hundreds of millions more in outside capital.

“Owning 40% to 80% of a company means that you don’t really need as many hits,” Lore told CNBC. “One big hit at a 40% stake pays for everything else. I do like the idea of these concentrated bets rather than just sprinkling dollars around.”

Leadoff Hitter: First up for VCP is a $10 million investment in NOW//with, a social commerce startup that will offer a “shoppable content destination” for consumers to buy goods touted by celebrities and influencers. The strategy was pioneered by Alibaba in China, and replicated by Tik-Tok owner ByteDance when Covid-19 gave a shot in the arm to at-home entertainment and shopping.

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